“The Legion shall be many, and the Legion shall be few. He has woven himself in the fabric of your life since the dawn of time.” The Ood continued. “Some may call him Abaddon. Some may call him Krop-Tor. Some may call him Satan or Lucifer or the Bringer of Despair, the Deathless Prince, the Bringer of Night. These are the words that shall set him free. I shall become manifest. I shall walk in might. My Legions shall swarm across the worlds. I am the sin and the temptation and the desire. I am the pain and the loss and the dead will come. I have been imprisoned for eternity. But no more.
“The pit is open; and I am free.”
“Open fire!” Jefferson shouted. He and the guard started shooting at the approaching Ood.
“We're stabilizing,” Zach said over the comm. “We've got orbit.”
Rose sprinted back to the comm. “Doctor? Doctor, can you hear me? Doctor, Ida, are you there?” Nothing but static responded.
‘Doctor!’ Lilith cried in her mind. It was useless; she couldn’t even feel his telepathic presence. The emptiness made her head pound.
“Open door 25,” the computer said. Jefferson and the guard prepared to shoot, but the door swung open to reveal Danny.
“It's me! But they're coming. It's the Ood. They've gone mad!”
“How many are there?” Rose asked.
“All of them!” Danny’s voice cracked in fear. “All fifty!”
“Danny, out of the way. Out of the way!” Jefferson ordered and marched to the door.
Danny tried to pull him back. “But they're armed!” he protested. “It's the interface device. I don't know how, but they're using it as a weapon!”
Jefferson paid him no mind and opened the door. The lead Ood shoved its translator ball in the guard’s face and electrocuted her.
“Jefferson, what's happening there?” asked Zach.
“I've got very little ammunition, sir. How about you?” Jefferson responded.
“All I've got is a bolt gun. With, er, all of one bolt. I could take out a grand total of one Ood. Fat lot of good that is.”
“Given the emergency, I recommend strategy nine.”
“Strategy Nine,” Zach agreed. “Right, we need to get everyone together. Rose? What about Ida and the Doctor? Any word?”
“I can't get a reply,” she said. “Just nothing. I keep trying, but it's—”
Static was heard over the comm before the Doctor’s voice said, “No, sorry, I'm fine. Still here.”
“You could've said so, you arrogant—!” Lilith shouted.
“Whoa. Careful! Anyway, it's both of us. Me and Ida. Hello. But the seal opened up. It's gone,” the Doctor informed them. “All we've got left is this chasm.”
“How deep is it?” Zach asked.
“Can't tell. It looks like it goes down forever.”
“The pit is open,” Rose said, quietly. “That's what the voice said.”
“But there's nothing, I mean, there's nothing coming out?”
“No, no. No sign of the Beast.” Lilith could hear the air quotes in the Doctor’s words.
Rose’s voice came out shaky. “It said Satan.”
“Come on, Rose. Keep it together.”
“Is there no such thing? Doctor. Doctor, tell me there's no such thing.”
Lilith sent Rose a wave of telepathic comfort. Rose responded with a sense of thanks and the pounding in Lilith’s head lessened a little.
Why could she contact Rose telepathically and not the Doctor? What was strong enough to cut off or interfere with their mental connection? Lilith shivered. Nothing good, that’s what.
“Ida? I recommend that you withdraw. Immediately!” ordered Zach.
“But, we've come all this way!” Ida protested.
“That was an order. Withdraw. When that thing opened, the whole planet's shifted,” Zach said. “One more inch and we fall into the black hole. So this thing stops right now.”
“But it's not much better up there with the Ood,” she argued.
“I'm initiating strategy nine, so I need the two of you back up top immediately, no ar—” There was static as Ida turned off the comms. “Ida. Ida!”
“Idiotic humans.” Lilith fumed, earning her strange looks from Jefferson and Toby.
Rose put down the comm and sat next to where Lilith was slumped on the floor clutching her head. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t talk to him, I can’t feel him. My head is empty. I know he’s feeling it too. I can’t feel him or hear him, but I can tell that something’s wrong.” Lilith shook her head. “If he had just listened to me and not gone down there…”
“Rose, we're coming back,” the Doctor said.
Rose ran back over to the comm. “Best news I've heard all day.” Jefferson pointed his rifle at Toby. “What're you doing?” she demanded.
“He's infected,” Jefferson hissed. “He brought that thing on board. You saw it.”
“Are you going to start shooting your own people now? Is that what you're going to do? Is it?”
Rose crossed her arms. “Well then, you'll have to shoot me if necessary, so what's it going to be? Look at his face. Whatever it was is gone. It passed into the Ood. You saw it happen. He's clean.”
If I don’t shoot him first, Lilith thought, reaching into her pocket and grasping her blaster. She didn’t believe for one second that a possession that violent wouldn’t leave some sort of residual energy.
“Okay, we're in. Bring us up,” Ida said.
Everyone but Toby went over to the monitor. “Ascension in three, two, one.”
And the power went out. “This is the darkness. This is my domain.” The monitor flickered with images of the Ood. “You little things that live in the light, clinging to your feeble suns which die in the end.”
“That's not the Ood. Something's talking through them,” Zach said.
“Only the darkness remains.”
“This is Captain Zachary Cross Flane of Sanctuary Base Six, representing the Torchwood archive. (Lilith flinched.) You will identify yourself.”
“You know my name,” the voice taunted.
“What do you want?” Zach demanded.
“You will die here. All of you. This planet is your grave.”
Toby started panicking. “It's him. It's him. It's him.”
Then, to the surprise of everyone in the drilling area, the voice started having a conversation with no one. “What’s it doing?” Danny wondered.
Lilith got a sick feeling in her stomach. “It’s talking to the Doctor,” she whispered.
The voice, the Beast, claimed it came from before time. “Before light and time and space and matter. Before the cataclysm. Before this universe was created.”
“Impossible,” Lilith breathed.
“You know nothing. All of you, so small. The Captain, so scared of command. The soldier, haunted by the eyes of his wife. The scientist, still running from Daddy. The little boy who lied. The virgin. The meddling traveler who fights to shield her family, the Avenging Daughter who will leave in the end. And the lost girl, so far away from home, the Valiant Child who will die in battle so very soon.”
“Doctor,” Rose said, “what does that mean?”
“Rose, don't listen,” the Doctor told her.
“It’s taunting us,” Lilith growled.
“You will die and I will live.” A roaring horned beast replaced the image of the Ood.
Everyone jumped back. “What the hell was that?” Danny gasped.
“I had that thing inside my head!” Toby cried.
Everyone started talking at once. The pounding in Lilith’s head got louder and the knot in her stomach got tighter. Everyone was panicking, that’s what the Beast wanted. But its words were getting even to her. The meddling traveler who fights to shield her family. The Avenging Daughter who will leave in the end.
How did the creature know she was meddling with time? How did it know that she was going to leave?
The Doctor sent feedback through the comm to shut everyone up. “You want voices in the dark? Then listen to mine. That thing is playing on very basic fears. Darkness, childhood nightmares, all that stuff.”
“But that's how the devil works,” said Danny.
“Or a good psychologist,” Lilith muttered.
“What makes his version of the truth any better than mine, hmm?” the Doctor asked. “‘Cause I'll tell you what I can see. Humans. Brilliant humans. Humans who travel all the way across space, flying in a tiny little rocket right into the orbit of a black hole, just for the sake of discovery. That's amazing! Do you hear me? Amazing, all of you. The Captain, his Officer, his elders, his juniors, his friends. All with one advantage. The Beast is alone. We are not. If we can use that to fight against him—”
There was a loud bang and the cable snapped and fell into the shaft. “Doctor, we lost the cable! Doctor, are you all right? Doctor!” Rose yelled into the comm.
“Comms are down,” Zach said. “I've still got life signs, but we've lost the capsule.”
“Lilith, can you hear anything from him?” The panic was evident in Rose’s voice. “Have you gotten through?”
Lilith shook her head. “Nothing. That thing is blocking me somehow.”
“There's no way out. They're stuck down there.”
“But we've got to bring them back!” Rose protested.
“They're ten miles down. We haven't got another ten miles of cable.” Something started banging on the door. The Ood. “Captain? Situation report…” Jefferson said.
“It's the Ood. They're cutting through the door bolts. They're breaking in.”
“Yeah, it's the same on door 25.”
Rose, who was helping Lilith to her feet, asked, “How long's it going to take?”
“Well, it's only a basic frame. It should take ten minutes.” The sound of another bolt being cut echoed through the room.
Lilith flinched. “More like eight.”
“I've got a security frame. It might last a bit longer, but that doesn't help you.”
Rose took a deep breath. “Right. So we need to stop them, or get out, or both.”
“I'll take both, yeah? But how?” Danny asked.
“You heard the Doctor,” Lilith said. “Why do you think the damn thing cut him off? Because he was making sense and not panicking. He was telling you to work together and think your way out of this. So think! How do we get out of here?
“Well, for starters, we need some lights,” Rose suggested. “There's got to be some sort of power somewhere.”
“There's nothing I can do. Some Captain, stuck in here, pressing buttons,” Zach muttered.
“That's what the Doctor meant. Press the right buttons,” Rose said.
“They've gutted the generators.” He paused, realizing something. “But the rocket's got an independent supply. If I could reroute that… Mister Jefferson? Open the bypass conduits. Override the safety.”
“Opening bypass conduits, sir.”
“Channeling rocket feed in three, two, one. Power.”
The lights came on. “There we go!” Rose cheered. “What about that strategy nine thing?”
Jefferson shook his head. “Not enough power. It needs a hundred percent.”
Lilith clapped her hands. “Okay, now we need a way out. Zach, Mister Jefferson, you can start working on that.”
“Toby, what about you?” Rose asked, trying to include him.
Toby stood. “I'm not a soldier. I can't do anything.”
“No, you're the archeologist,” Rose agreed. “What do you know about the pit?”
“Well, nothing. We can't even translate the language.”
“Hold on. Maybe…” He trailed off.
Rose raised her eyebrows. “What is it?”
“Since that thing was inside my head, it's like the letters made more sense.”
“Well, get to work. Anything you can translate, just anything.” Lilith’s hand drifted towards her pocket. There was the proof of residual energy. But was it good or bad? Rose turned her attention to Danny. “As for you, Danny boy. You're in charge of the Ood. Any way of stopping them?”
“I don't know.”
“Then find out. The sooner we get control of the Base, the sooner we can get the Doctor out. Shift,” Rose ordered.
“Well, there's all sorts of viruses that could stop the Ood,” Danny mused. “Trouble is, we haven't got them on board.”
“Oh, that's useful,” Lilith snorted. “Does anyone else want to add to the list of things we haven't got? We haven't got a swimming pool either. Or a Starbucks.”
Jefferson frowned. “What’s a Starbucks?”
“Before your time.” Lilith said, dismissively.
“Oh my God. It says yes! I can do it.” Both Lilith and Rose turned to Danny. “Hypothetically, if you flip the monitor, broadcast a flare, it can disrupt the telepathy. Brainstorm!”
“What happens to the Ood?” Lilith asked. She didn’t really want to hurt the Ood unless absolutely necessary. She was the only one who knew the truth about them.
“It'll tank them spark out.”
Rose grinned. “There we are, then. Do it!”
“No, but I'd have to transmit from the central monitor. We need to go to Ood Habitation.”
Another bang as the Ood cut another bolt on the door. “That's what we'll do, then,” Rose decided. “Lilith, have you got your vortex manipulator working?”
“Not enough to take us all there. It’s only got enough power for a one way trip to the Doctor and we want him up here, not me down there.”
“Alright, then. Mister Jefferson, sir. Any way out?”
“Just about,” Jefferson said. There's a network of maintenance tunnels running underneath the base. We should be able to gain access from here.
“Ventilation shafts. Isn’t that a bit cliché?”
“Yeah, I appreciate the reference, but there's no ventilation. No air, in fact, at all. They were designed for machines, not life forms,” Jefferson explained.
“But I can manipulate the oxygen field from here. Create discrete pockets of atmosphere. If I control it manually, I can follow you through the network.”
“Right, so we go down, and you make the air follow us by hand,” Rose clarified.
“You wanted me pressing buttons.”
“Okay, we need to get to Ood Habitation. Work out a route.”
Lilith went back to pacing, the pounding in her head only getting worse. It was becoming distracting. Was that what the Beast wanted? Her distracted?
The Ood were nearly through the door by the time the others had got a piece of deck plating up. “Danny!” Rose called to the man, who was still at the monitor.
“Hold on!” he called back. “Just conforming.”
“Dan, we got to go now! Come on!” Jefferson yelled.
“Yeah!” Danny grabbed an orange computer chip from the machine and ran over to the others. “Put that in the monitor and it's a bad time to be an Ood.”
“We're coming back. Have you got that? We're coming back to this room and we're getting the Doctor out.”
“Okay,” Jefferson said, “Danny, you go first, then you, Miss Tyler and Miss Smith, then Toby. I'll go last in defensive position. Now, come on, quick as you can!”
As Lilith climbed down into the tunnels the only thing that was running through her head was, ‘When we’re out of here, the Doctor is so dead’.